Child Rams At The YMCA

There is a new phenomenon in 2019, that I never seen before.  I have never even heard of it before.  It is when a child watches out for you, and then when you walk into position, they spin around, aim their back at you, and run backwards to ram into you, saying "Sorry, sorry!" in a singsong voice.  This has happened three times in the first month that I have been going to the YMCA in Bloomington, Illinois for physical therapy.  In fact the third incident was actually an adult who pulled this child's ramming trick.

 

I saw what the trick was when the first child tried to ram me.  I was running a little late for class so I thought that I was only one in the locker room, but then I heard it breathing erratically and rustling around, so I peeked around a row of lockers to see what was going on.  It was about three feet high, male or female I could not tell, I had never seen it before in my life.  It was hopping up and down with excitement, and appeared to be waiting for me to pass by.  As I moved forward I saw that it saw my knees coming, for it spin around, and lunge backwards at me.  It was fairly easy to dodge it, even though my cane was in my locker.  I just stopped short and it backpedaled across in front of me.  I noted the disappointment on its dark, crafty little face, but I did not stop to interact with that craziness.  I kept walking and went on to my water aerobics class.  The next dark-hearted child was about my size, but heavier, perhaps twelve years old, and she rammed me in a hallway at the YMCA.  She had looked over her shoulder to see where I was, she even looked me in the eye with maybe just a tinge of shame for what she was about to do, then she pretended not to see me and backed up quickly away from her conversation with someone else to ram me into a wall.  It was quite a ramming she gave me, saying, "Sorry, sorry!" with excitement.  I said, "Oof!", leaned more heavily onto my cane and kept walking, exiting the YMCA to go home.

 

The third incident was a middle-aged white woman who turned her back on me for an entire water aerobics class while flailing her arms and legs.  This left it entirely up to me to avoid her and I was crowded up against the side of the pool for the entire class, but I avoided being struck by her.  This class was led by a kind and skillful instructor, and I was embarrassed to see a group of old white ladies piddling about in the center of the class and talking nonstop for the duration of the class.  I hope that the instructor took some action in that regard.  I have never seen such blatant disrespect from students, not to mention that the rest of us could not hear the instructor's directions.

 

There was another incident when a different and much less skillful white water aerobics instructor powered past me in class.  She was churning her water weights so vigorously that when she hit me the hard plastic end of it left a bruise on the inside of my elbow.  She called out to me just like the children do, "Sorry, sorry!" but she did not stop to see if I was alright.  I reported her to the YMCA manager but I do not know how the matter was handled.  I will not go to that instructor's class again.  With regard to the Child Rams at the YMCA, I will have to watch out and avoid them, because I need the therapy that I am getting there as part of my Humana Go365 membership benefits.

 

Ramming is a nasty little game that children and childish adults are playing at the YMCA in Bloomington, Illinois.  I have no idea if anyone is doing it anywhere else.  There may be a racial component to it.  I saw a young man of darker complexion on Twitter saying that he enjoyed "bothering old white people."  His trick was to get next to them and say outrageous things.  His sneering face would be enough to alert me to move away.

 

I recall the first day that I went in to the YMCA, I had toured the facility and I was ready to go home, but I paused to watch a high-powered aerobics workout, with rap music set to blast-out-your-eardrums.  There were fifty young ladies of color twerking a boogie beat down in the class. 
This activity at the YMCA was fairly shocking to my Midwestern sensibilities, and I wondered where the staff were.  Then a young black man, significantly bigger than I, came to stand next to me at the viewing windows.  He copied the class's moves with such force that the wind from his arms and body movements blew my hair and clothing.  He did not hit me, but I worried that he might.  His friends were laughing and encouraging him in slang so I did not know what they were saying.  I did not make eye contact with any of them.  I soon slipped away to go home.  Some of these kids are intend on threatening old white people, it is a game to them.  And some foolish white people are copying them, just as they appropriate other bits and pieces of alternative cultures.

 

On a different note, it makes me worry to see the destroyed physical condition of this local YMCA.  Shower curtains are torn, floor tiles are dug up, locker doors are broken off their hinges.  You have to apply some serious force to pull a locker door off its hinges, so I can see that I must be vigilant to keep myself safe.  The majority of the YMCA staff have been unfailingly friendly and encouraging, so I will continue to go there but I will need to persevere carefully.

Caption:  Child Rams At The YMCA

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2019

 

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